Examining the Sweet Tooth

I’m afraid this post contains no scientific data, and might not apply to anyone else.  The only sweet tooth being examined is mine.  Its a really big tooth, and I’m afraid its been acting up lately.  Tuesday (yes, at a quilting class) there was a gooey cinnamon pull-apart.  I even knew it was going to be there ahead of time, and I brought ammunition, but I’m afraid I succumbed.   And I thought about all the times over the past five years that I have resisted the cinnamon pull-apart.  But I also thought about how the last big time I lost weight (in my 20’s) I really stopped eating sugar all together.  And I remember saying that stuff was ‘too sweet.’  But as we all know, that weight loss effort was a failure.  I gained it all back plus some.  So this time I decided that I would not say ‘never’ to any particular food.  I would just allow myself the occasional treat, or have smaller amounts (like in the book ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat.)

In the past year, I have been learning that eating the sugar/fat/salt combo really does lead me to want more, and I have again toned down the regular consumption of sweets.  But I still like them.  I have never once thought, ‘that’s too sweet.’

Then yesterday, eating lunch out with my friend, I had, well, WAY TOO MUCH FOOD.  I am not going to describe it all here, because sometimes I think that it is not helpful to other people to read about VERY HIGH CALORIE FOOD.  I ate so much that I wasn’t hungry for dinner, and in fact, I didn’t eat dinner. I just had a little yogurt before I went to bed.

So I’ve been thinking about it today.  Is it just that one indulgence led to another?  Is it the proximity of the food?  Was it an underlying ’emotional’ problem?  Or was it a combination of all three?  I do know that one indulgence leads me to WANT another.  I can fight that a little.  And I do think for whatever reason, the proximity of the food is a factor.  If I am in a very large room and can stay away from where the food is, I seem to be able to resist it more.  The emotional factor  I usually tend to discard.  I have examined and examined myself.  There are specific instances of stress eating, of course.  But I don’t think I eat instead of loving myself like Oprah says.  I don’t think I have any hidden deep-seated emotional scars.  I do think I really really like food (too much) and I really really like sweets.  BUT….something did occur to me this afternoon.  (I was much better today, but I have still eaten too much.)  I did realize that my stress about my job, and examining retirement is probably a giant factor here.  (sigh of relief.  I don’t like having ‘unsolved mysteries.)

Just so ya know.  I still like what I do.  It is a little more stressful than I would like it to be. But the biggest factor is the long days.  I just can’t seem to get over that.  Retiring now is a big decision.  It is permanent, you know?  Yes, I know I can still be a nurse.  But I could never go back to exactly what I am doing now.  And there is a financial aspect to it too.  If you retire at this age they don’t give you as much.  I have never believed in working just for the money.  But I don’t want to be an idiot either.

So I have a lot to think about.  Here’s hoping I can think and not eat at the same time.  Yesterday during the boring class I did come up with a plan that I’m kind of excited about.  Vicky (my trainer) has her ‘Quick Fixx’ food business.  And she does meal plans for people.  Which I have done before.  But I like to cook, and I like plain old vegetables and fruit and my homemade yogurt.  So I came up with a plan:  five days a week, I will get 1000 calories worth of meal food from Vicky, and I will add in 2 servings of vegetables, one fruit, and one serving of my homemade yogurt–1300 calories total for the day.  The good part about this (besides the fact that Vicky’s food is delicious and I don’t have to cook) is that my choices are limited for a while.  It is not a permanent solution, but it is helpful sometimes.  I am going to do it for four weeks.  The other two days of the week I get to cook, and my calories will be a little higher–about 1600.

That’s all for now.  Back to work for a couple of days.  You all have a good weekend and stay warm.  Seems like storms are blowing in all over the country!

The little 'watercolor' quilt made during the cinnamon pull-apart incident.

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9 thoughts on “Examining the Sweet Tooth

  1. Your food plan sounds good. Not too much hassle.

    About retiring ….my advice …. Unless you seem to have clear direction don’t do it too soon. Go for part-time work first. I know from my daughter, who works 14-16 days a month that nursing can be tiring and stressful but it’s really good to keep in touch with modern practice for as long as you feel able.

    On the other hand if you want to “re-tyre” or change your lifestyle and have some ideas in mind, another passion to follow-up then you really must seriously consider doing that while you have the energy to make a transition.

    Once you are retired it can be a very long time … thinking that you can expect to live into your 80s or 90s and still be reasonably active.

    Whatever you choose I know you will have considered it carefully and in the end you have to believe in your own instincts.

    I love our quilts. I envy your passion and skill.

    Blessings, Anne

  2. I wondered about what you said about Oprah:
    “But I don’t think I eat instead of loving myself like Oprah says. ”

    Is that what she thinks that SHE does? Or is she telling other people not to do it.

    My mom rarely watches her anymore either (I stopped the December before last when she said that ‘next month’ she was going to do something about her weight/health, because I knew at that point that she was never going to get it) but said that she recently caught a show where they were cooking and that Oprah’s food compulsion was so obvious that she had to turn it off. She was stuffing whatever they were cooking IN her mouth and my mom was sure that she didn’t even realize she was doing it. Like if they put together clips from every time there was food on the show and showed her eating willy nilly with almost a franticness to it – that she might SEE. I have never gotten over the fact that she can set the ground rules for all food on the show and she does not. NO ONE in today’s world needs to know how to cook more junk/nonfood.

    Ditto on the nursing advice. Do not give it up entirely. Either find a full time nursing job that is far less stressful. Or go part time. It is easier to go back to full time from part time. But once you quit, hard to go back at all.

  3. Thanks for the advice, Anne and Vickie. I really appreciate it.

    And yes, a couple of years ago, when Oprah gained a large amount of weight , that is what she said. Of course she says it about herself, but she also thinks it is a universal truth for others.

    And thanks for the high fiber listing today Vickie. That was a lot of work, and a good reminder for me. I have a couple of new bean recipes I am going to try soon. And I always forget that peas have so much fiber. I will add them to my stir-fry next time.

  4. For me, I feel like indulgences happen in clusters. It’s not just an extra slice of pizza one night and then I’m done. No it seems to be an extra slice of pizza one night, then the next day it’s a slice of pie, and then the next day it’s too many cookies, and then the next day it’s someone’s birthday. That’s why I hate starting in the first place because I know it’s not “just one slip up” for me. And yes, I think that eating sweets leads me to wanting more sweets, except for dark chocolate. I can have a square of dark chocolate and be totally fine. Not so much with cookies though!
    I think your meal plan sounds very do-able. Keep us posted on how it’s working.
    Very pretty quilt, btw!!

  5. Hi Debbie ..I’m a nurse of 26 years and a food addict-not just sweets and carbs. All foods , I could use for comfort and as medication and something to fixate on other than what is really hurting me.

    I totally get the retiring thing, but that often has such financial repercussions and others like isolation and loss of sense of purpose and accomplishment.
    I encourage you just to soul search and take some time off . Maybe you would want to do something that is nursing , but isn’t direct patient care. It is such a burn out physically and emotionally sometimes. I did hospital nursing for the first 15 years and then home health care at first as direct patient care / later in management. Now I work as a case manager telephonically for patients. I don’t have direct contact with the pain and emotions and back breaking work, and I get to use my knowledge and experience in creative ways. And I get to work at home in my pjs, walk the dogs, etc.

    I think trying that food plan is a great idea. I follow something similiar from a company locally in Atlanta. It is fresh cooked meals that follow the
    American Heart Associations, Diabetes and Cancer associations guidelines. Mine are 3 meals a day at 1200 calories and I can add snacks. I only do it mon to friday . It has taught me portion control, opened up new food likes, given me ideas for meal planning, taught me what is enough food for me though my mind / emotions want more.
    Good luck to you

    • Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the thoughtful advice. I am exploring all the options and information that I get. I like your blog, and will visit again!

  6. Ah Debby – we truly are so much alike in many ways. I can so identify with you a few posts ago about being tired of trying and tired of the vigilance to see what appears to be no result. I have been there so many times and still visit that on occasion.

    And like you, I just love food. I am not depressed; I am not using food to be happy or because of some traumatic event. I just love the taste and love eating. And I stress eat.

    Being a nurse is a tough job, I admire you for that. You don’t get paid near enough. There are certainly other opportunities that you could do that give you the satisfaction of nursing. What about working for a group like the Red Cross or something like that? It could be more part time (if you are in that position monetarily) and less stressful.

    • Lori, my friend! I missed you! Its so nice to have someone to commiserate with who really understands what I am trying to say!

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